February 1 – Hearty Recommendation

Today’s Factismal: Your heart will beat nearly 3,000,000,000 times during your life.

Quick! If you are a woman, gather three of your female friends. Odds are that one of the four of you has heart disease. That’s because 42.9 million women in the USA, or about 28% of the female population has heart disease. And it isn’t just women who suffer from this; about one in every twelve men has heart disease. And heart disease is the number one killer in the USA, accounting for nearly a quarter of all deaths. Heart disease kills more Americans than accidents, diabetes, kidney failure, influenza, suicide, and murder combined.

And heart disease takes many forms. There’s atrial fibrillation, where the top part of the heart beats in 8/8 time while the bottom part does a waltz. There’s coronary artery disease, where the pipes that lead to your heart get clogged up with fatty plaque. There’s heart failure, where the heart moves only a little blood even when your body wants a lot. And then there’s a heart attack, where your heart just throws in the towel and decides to take a rest on the sidelines for a bit.

Fortunately, there are almost as many ways to combat heart disease as there are types of heart disease. Adding just 30 minutes of light exercise each day by walking, working in the garden, or going for a bike ride, is enough to reduce the effects of heart disease by nearly 3/4. Eating a low-fat, low salt diet cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack by more than 1/3. And keeping an upbeat attitude has also been shown to improve health (and to get you more friends to share those long walks with).

And, if you are a citizen scientist, you can also help defeat heart disease by joining Patients Like Me, a crowd-sourcing initiative to track common health problems and provide information on treatments:
http://www.patientslikeme.com/

One thought on “February 1 – Hearty Recommendation

  1. While I eat low salt (unintentionally, I just don’t ‘need’ it unless I’m craving it, then I have as much as I like–since our bodies *do* need it!), I lowered my cholesterol by:

    -stopping being vegetarian (was over 16 years) / returning to an omnivorous lifestyle
    -stopping eating grains
    -increasing fat intake, exponentially

    I was a VERY active vegetarian for years and always had high cholesterol (in general, low HDL and high LDL, triglycerides were none too pretty).

    I’ll cook in coconut oil and I ‘dress’ with EVOO and I eat meat fat.

    This goes against the FDA propaganda machine but it works in my body. It seems to work for a lot of others, too.

    The downside is I’m fatter…but my blood panels have been better than last 2 years than EVER in my life. I didn’t do this because I read somewhere that I should. I started with meat again because it was easier to get high amounts of protein (when I was lifting heavy, which I haven’t done since late 2009). I stuck with it. The grain-free thing came with the diagnosis of Celiac. My blood panels being the best ever (for my life) was a huge surprise.

    I can’t claim it’ll work for everybody but off grains and legumes (which I miss) and back on meat works for battling my family’s curse (so far).

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